Uphill for Chiefs as they look to dust off recent slump

2011-09-16 09:35

Kaizer Chiefs will be out to end their recent slump in performance when they meet archrivals Orlando Pirates in a highly-anticipated Absa Premiership match at FNB Stadium tomorrow. Kick-off is at 3pm.

Pirates beat a below-par Chiefs 1-0 in the sold-out MTN8 cup final at the same venue last Saturday evening, with the Phefeni Glamour Boys going on to lose their unbeaten league record on Wednesday, going down 2-1 to Ajax Cape Town at the Cape Town Stadium.

“It’s sad because no player goes to the field with an aim of losing a game,” said Chiefs and Bafana Bafana midfield player Reneilwe Letsholonyane.

Letsholonyane will be key in the middle of the park alongside young Lucky Baloyi, with veteran Tinashe Nengomasha set to miss the match through suspension after receiving his third caution midweek.

“Losing two matches in a row is not a good thing for a team like Chiefs,” Letsholonyane said.

“In football you do get times when you are down, but we will get better, and we felt we were improved against Ajax despite losing.”

A win for Chiefs will see them return to the top of the log table, but they will need to rely on two Pretoria outfits, Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United, losing or drawing their respective weekend fixtures.

Pirates will carry the favourites tag going into the showdown and are coming off a 1-0 midweek league victory over Santos – their third in four matches – with striker Ndumiso Mabena heading in the winner.

The 26-year-old could play another major role for the Buccaneers especially if the club opts not to risk veteran Bafana Bafana marksman Benni McCarthy who is recovering from a mild hamstring strain.

Mabena has a knack for scoring goals, with his league tally standing on two strikes after four rounds of fixtures.

The youngster has set a target of scoring again in the country’s premier fixture.

“I would love to score in a derby and I think this weekend’s match provides me with a chance to do so,” Mabena said.

“I feel that my confidence is high at the moment and I’m also getting to feature regularly for the team.”

Pirates coach Julio Leal will have a full squad from which to select his team, with no injuries reported by the league champions.

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